Gear Review: An evening with the Wilderness Systems Apex Carbon
So its amazing how strange something can feel when you are used to something else. I guess that goes with out saying for most things in life. Well for the last (3) years my go to stick for sea kayaking has been my bent shaft Ikelos Werner 230 cm Carbon paddle. I straight up love this paddle period. Last night I took the new Wilderness Systems Apex Carbon for a spin. At 27 ounces I was impressed with how light the paddle is. I was also impressed with the fact the base size is 220 cm, expandable to 240cm. The male / female center tube is really strong. This makes it a great choice for instructors especially with the rigors of rescue training. The LeverLock system is rock solid, easy to use on-the-fly to adjust feathering. The shaft has a nice knocked down matte finish which aids in grip when wet. Regardless, I still wrapped each end with my signature red and yellow vinyl tape and ditched the drip rings.
So how does it paddle? Not bad...... I am used to the larger surface of the Ikelos blades and noticed that "grab" lacking a bit when I got on it. The Apex is quiet in the water and is billed as a medium blade with a surface area of 610 cm2. Just as a comparative reference, the Ikelos is at 691 cm2. For me the hardest thing to get used to was the straight shaft. That took about an hour and things smoothed out. The paddle does not offer much flex in the water and that also took a bit of getting used to. The blades on my Ikelos are injection molded carbon without foam like the Apex. Braces and braces turns were solid with the Apex. I rolled 20 times last night, so no problems there.
Post paddle clean up was a breeze with easy paddle seperation. At a US retail of $399, I would definitely say there is good value in this paddle. It is certainly well made and handles decent. The warranty is top flight for sure. If it breaks, bring it back to your local outfitter, grab another one while yours gets fixed. Simple. It's not going to be my go to but I am happy to welcome it into the family and look forward to introducing it to other paddlers to get their opinion.
To learn more about the Wilderness Systems Apex Carbon and all of the new Wilderness Systems paddles check out : https://www.wildernesssystems.com/us/apex-paddle-carbon